A jury in Spalding County this week will answer a question which has plagued the Upson community for almost two years:
Who killed 8-month-old Daijah White?
Both parents, Marcel Walker and Janice White, are charged with murder in connection with the baby's death and will be tried together beginning today.
Both parents maintain their innocence in the death of their daughter.
Walker represented by Jeffrey Ellington of the Zebulon-based Virgil Brown and Associates, claims the baby was mortally wounded when she fell off the bed.
The mother, represented by the Public Defender's Office, maintains Walker has a long history of beating the child and murdered the baby that day while she was at work.
District Attorney Scott Ballard said he expects the trial to last about a week.
The baby was pronounced dead Oct. 16, 2003 at Upson Regional Medical Center. An autopsy conducted at the time suggested the little girl's skull had been fractured in two places. The report initially suggested that the baby died "instantly."
Because Walker was alone with the baby that afternoon, the case, at first, seemed cut and dry.
The following day, Walker was charged with felony murder and malice murder in connection with the baby's death. The mother, meanwhile, was charged with cruelty to children because she allegedly did nothing to stop the abuse inflicted on her daughter.
But as the months rolled on, the case became less clear.
The autopsy results were openly disputed by Dr. Kathy Davis, the attending physician who pronounced the baby dead. She told The Thomaston Times the mortal wounds were inflicted at least 48 hours and up to 72 hours earlier.
That conflicting information is key because Walker was alone with the child for an just more than an hour on the day of her death. The mother was also home previously with the child.
Because of the conflicting information, District Attorney Scott Ballard, barely a month in office, announced that charges against the mother and the father would be dropped and that the couple would be re-indicted.
The case went back before grand jurors last spring, and this time, both parents were charged with murder.
Though the baby lived just 8 months and 25 days, she was no stranger to violence.
The autopsy revealed the child had endured "multiple beatings" in her short life, an allegation, which was confirmed by the baby's great aunt, Laketha Howard.
"Daijah was always coming up with these bruises," she said. "It seems as though she had a different bruise every week. By the time one would heal, another one was there. She was just constantly being bruised, bruised, bruised."
In the 18 months prior to Daijah's death, deputies from the Upson County Sheriff's Department responded to violent episodes in April 2002 and again in Dec. 2002, court records show. The family then moved into Thomaston and police were called when violence erupted in May 2003 and again 11 days before the baby died.